Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC) has a simple, three-part philosophy: 1) every human being is an asset and every life is valuable; 2) environment shapes people’s lives; and 3) creativity fuels innovation. By constructing an empowering atmosphere of art, light, music and recruiting a staff that strives to realize the genius in everyone, MBC helps people of all ages to become productive members of society. MBC’s philosophy originated when, as a high-school student, MBC founder Bill Strickland met Pittsburgh Public High School art teacher Frank Ross. Ross mentored Strickland and helped to impress upon Strickland the power of art, education and community. Importantly, Ross also assisted Strickland in obtaining entrance to the University of Pittsburgh.
While still in college in 1968, Strickland founded Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild to bring arts education and mentorship to inner-city youth in his neighborhood on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The MCG Youth & Arts program, as it is now called, serves students, many of whom are at risk for dropping out, by offering studio-based courses in ceramics, design, digital arts and photography.
In 1972, Strickland assumed leadership of a struggling building trade school, located near Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. Over the years, Bidwell Training Center (BTC) evolved to offer programs in seven majors, including Chemical Laboratory Technician, Horticulture Technician, Culinary Arts, Pharmacy Technician, Medical Claims Processing, Medical Coder and Electronic Record Medical Assistant. BTC is a nationally recognized and accredited, state-licensed adult career-training institution that assists people who are unemployed, underemployed or in transition with the education, training and professional skills needed to find employment in the local job market. In 2012, BTC was one of only 17 out of 800 schools to be named a School of Excellence, the highest distinction of its accrediting body the Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges.
Founded in 2006, National Center for Arts and Technology (NCAT) is a nonprofit affiliate of Manchester Bidwell Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The mission of the National Center for Arts and Technology is to impart the Manchester Bidwell educational model by catalyzing the creation of Center for Arts and Technology in communities nationally and internationally. The vision of NCAT is to continuously increase the number of communities that support underserved populations to produce outstanding outcomes.